The World Health Organization has already declared the Zika virus, a mosquito-transmitted infection, a global health emergency.
On February of this year, the virus has claimed the life of a 70-year old Puerto Rican man, as announced by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Puerto Rico Department of Health.The elderly man was treated for symptoms of Zika that lasted less than a week, but returned to the hospital a few days after his recovery with signs of bleeding disorder.
The virus was discovered in the Zika forest in Uganda in 1947, but only began to catch worldwide attention when it started to spread in the Western Hemisphere just recently, including Central and South America.
Much of the concern is on pregnant women, as there has been evidence of a rise in miscarriages or birth defects in Brazil, wherein infants were born with misshapen or abnormally small heads. This is a rare neurological disorder called microcephaly.
Even the South Korean Olympic athletes will be donning “Zika-proof” uniforms. The outfit contains mosquito-repellent to keep them safe from mosquitoes that might carry the virus at the summer Olympics in Brazil.
Quest Diagnostics has been given emergency authorization by the US Food and Drug Administration to sell the first commercially available diagnostic test for Zika directly to health care providers. Doctors however, must coordinate with their state and local health department if they need to test a patient for the virus.
Currently there is no vaccine for the Zika virus, but Dr. Lyle Petersen, head of vector-borne diseases for the CDC has stated that researchers at the National Institutes of Health are working to develop a vaccine.